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Annaka of Sussex County, born abt 1760
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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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Fannie (Annaka) Adkins, born abt 1780

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We believe our ancestral African female origin in America was likely via a woman named "Anaka" who had a daughter named "Fannie" and both were owned by Widow Lucy Adkins of Sussex County, Virginia who died around 1795 and whose will was probated during 1797. 

The girl's name Anaka \a-na-ka\ is a variant of Anika (Hausa), and the meaning of Anaka is "sweet-faced". The baby name Anaka sounds like Anka, Annaka and Anaca.  Anaka is a very rare female first name and a very rare surname (source: 1990 U.S. Census). 

The name "Anaka/Annaka" is a clue that she was African born and allowed to keep her African name and was of child bearing age in the 1795 ante-bellum Virginia that placed great care and attention on female slaves who were known or believed to be fertile. 

Who was "Anaka/Annaka" and where in Africa can we find her roots and port of debarkation as a slave shipped to the British colonies in America and the Caribbean. Her name and offspring named "Fannie" is about the only clue we have that she existed; but, suspect somewhere in the family files, property and/or tax records of the Adkins/Atkins slave owners in Sussex County Virginia there may exist a property or tax record we can use to ascertain identities.  Or perhaps someone in Africa or the Caribbean have knowledge of an ancestral girl named Anaka kidnapped and sold into slavery in the later 18th century.

Our speculation is that she was shipped from one of the slave forts owned and operated by the British government prior to the American Revolutionary War. The possibility exists that she may have come in after year 1783 when the war ended, and American slave imports vastly increased to triple the number of slaves in original thirteen states; but the will of Lucy Adkins in 1795-1797 suggests she was likely the mother of Fannie and born before the war. The only way to know for sure is via records of Lucy Adkins and her apparently deceased Adkins husband in Sussex County. 

Sussex County Virginia, Westward & Southward Gateway

We also know for certain that a lot of African-American Adkins/Atkins escaped slavery in Sussex, Franklin, Pittsylvania and other counties to enlist in the Union armies that helped them help others to be free.  The below site link offers some insight into the history that current generations are able and willing to publish.  Details available are likely to be found in archives as the Virginia State Library in Richmond.

                Lucy Adkins Baseline Reference Source

We speculate that this cited "Fannie" was the original source of the name used in later offspring generations of African-American Adkins/Atkins who were bred, born and often-times sold to distant locations such as Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi as market demands existed or White offspring moved away from Virginia. If any viewer knows differently, we welcome inputs of their wisdom.

p. 31 Lucy Adkins of Sussex leaves negro slaves David and black Hannah to her brother William Harrison whereas there is a suit in the high court of Chancery at present depending between myself and Thomas Adkins of the County of Sussex respecting the right and title of certain Negro slaves namely Anaka and Fanny and their increase. Now in case the said suit shall terminate in my favor and the right and title to the said Negro slaves be fixed and vested in me I give and bequeath to my brother William Harrison the said Negro slaves Annaka and Fanny to him and his heirs forever and as to the increase or children the said Annaka and Fanny now have I lend them all to my brother William Harrison in the following conditions, vizt. All of them that may be twenty years of age or upwards at the time of my decease I lend to him for the term of five years from and after my decease and at the expiration of the said term of five years I leave them and their increase to be emancipated forever and those of the said children of Annaka and Fanny that may be under the age of twenty years at the time of my decease I lend to my said brother till they each arrive to the age of twenty five years and as they arrive to the age of twenty five years I leave them to be emancipated forever, all which said Negroes I lend to him and his heirs on the before mentioned terms. I lend to my brother William Harrison the following Negro slaves, namely Sarah, Frank, Milley, Mike, Joe, Pat, Beck, Jenny, Fanny, Patience, Jemima, George, Washington, and Burrell, all of them that may be twenty years of age or upwards at the time of my decease for the term of five years from and after my decease and at the expiration of the said term of five years I leave them and their increase to be emancipated forever and those of the said negro slaves that may be under the age of twenty years at the time of my decease I lend to my said brother till they arrive to the age of twenty five years and then they and their increase to be emancipated forever, all which said Negro slaves I lend to my said brother and his heirs on the above mentioned terms. 26 Sept 1795 rec. 6 July 1797. inventory p. 50 lists 40 slaves

And, because we are believers our faith drives us to seek truth in our being and ancestors via the only means we know, ... rational thinking that goodness emerged from them, research as to their lives in Virginia and reasoning in the context of chattel slavery as it existed before and after the revolutionary war of 1775-1783 when vast new lands were opened for both the expansion of land holdings westward of rebellious colonies and slavery for many purposes thereto. 

                                Where We Came From

We know many of the Atkins men in western Virginia were long ago leased out to coal mine operators, and many also likely engaged in growing tobacco, raising corn and hogs, and the making of corn whiskey and distributions.

                                Second Middle Passage

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